Without and Within

The following will be a mix of informal and formal rambling. I’m not going to destroy the English language on purpose, but it’s going to happen anyways. Also the pictures are there to break up the monotony of pure text, not to really convey any sort of meaning. So basically they’re there to be pretty. I also own nothing from any of the images here, and if my usage of them agitates you on a legal level just ask for me to take them down. Fair use, please no copyright. – Gojira


Prologue

It goes without saying that video games are one of the most rapidly expanding mediums to tell stories through. People are going to run in and tell you that video games aren’t built for telling stories, and trying to use video games as a storytelling medium is wrong. Of course, anybody with any semblance of logic can refute those kinds of statements (it’s more a matter of whether or not they actually want to engage in a debate about that kind of thing). Video games can tell great stories. Whenever I think of examples of great video game stories, a few names pop up in my mind. Metal Gear, Planescape, Mass Effect, and Deus Ex are usually at the forefront… along with a certain other franchise. I call it Halo.
I’m going to delve into a few aspects of the lore which I love and elaborate on my interpretations of them. I believe Halo is a universe which has loads of potential, and I think that we’re truly about to watch the series unlock it. Even if I’m wrong, which I very well might be considering the fact that this is all an interpretation of the lore thus far, I think most people will understand that I’ve got a ton of reasons to love the lore as it is right now.


1. Defining Terms

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This post uses a few concepts the average player might find confusing. Fortunately, it doesn’t require too deep an understanding of these concepts (though a deeper understanding will probably help in appreciating it more) so it should be pretty accessible to everyone. Don’t be put off by its length either, it’ll be over before you know it. And yes, I understand this is ironically highly reminiscent of the marketing for Halo 4, but ultimately the analysis really doesn’t require much of a higher understanding than the basics for each concept. Basically, if you can deal with this elaboration, you should be set.

i) Nihilism, Absurdism, and Existentialism

Nihilism, absurdism, and existentialism are the three philosophical schools of thought we’ll be dealing with here. The basic, simple premise of the first one is that movement towards finding meaning in real life is futile due to the complete lack of one. A nihilist states that there is absolutely no meaning to life, subjective or otherwise, and that the concept of finding a meaning is moot as well. It’s a rather pessimistic world view that can devalue existence as a whole. There is no meaning, nobody can create a meaning, and trying will not bear any results of particular value.

The second one, absurdism, is something more ambiguous than the other two. Absurdists represent the world with a sense of complete ambiguity. This ambiguity comes into view in due to the concept of the Absurd: the conflict between the universe’s unpredictable irrationality and the human search to find a coherent meaning in that universe consisting of irrationality. While absurdists state that the search for a meaning does not turn up any legitimate answers due to human nature, they do not outright deny the existence of an ultimate meaning; rather, they state that humans are able to find one. Instead, absurdists believe that the only meaning creatable by a rational human is completely subjective and is brought by an awareness of absurdism; that is, by the recognition that the person is in a world of irrationality. There may be a meaning, but nobody is capable of finding it, and the only meaning one can create is the one they personally substantiate after grasping the true concept of the absurd.

The third and final one is existentialism. The existentialist starts off meaningless, with nothing but their existence to give them a grip on the world. After pursuing a meaning with personal bias and preference in mind, the existentialist creates a personal meaning. Through this comes the age old existentialist saying that existence precedes essence.

Atheistic and theistic existentialism are two different matters entirely, but this post really only deals with the first one. The former states, like nihilism, that there is no possible objective meaning or truth to the universe. However, the clear difference is that existentialism places value on personal meaning: it is 100% subjectively possible, and should be an objective to the healthy mind. There is no meaning other than the one the existentialist creates on his/her own. It is the creation of essence to substantiate an existence.

So, to summarize:

Nihilism = No objective meaning, no personal meaning, efforts to find one are futile.

Absurdism = Ambiguous objective meaning which humans can never find, personal meaning creatable only by acknowledging the confrontation between human rationality and universal irrationality.

Existentialism = No objective meaning, the healthy mind constructs personal meaning to give essence to existence.

ii) Chaos Theory

“John, the kind of control you’re attempting simply is… it’s not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh… well, there it is.”

Ian Malcolm is awesome. Jurassic Park is awesome. The above quote possesses only a peripheral relevance, but it sums up the entirety of chaos theory rather well. The real definition of chaos theory, for the scope of this post, is the study of unpredictability in systems that supposedly possess “order.”

This post specifically uses chaos theory to express ideas about order and unpredictability. The main theory regarding chaos is that systems which possess “order” or even “deterministic” systems are just as susceptible to unpredictability as any other, and it isn’t feasible to change that without the use of a hypercomputer that calculates every single one of the infinite outcomes for a system. This post doesn’t deal with phase space and “legitimate” mathematics, so for simplicity all of the systems that this post encompasses are classifiable as chaotic systems due to their nonlinear nature.

So, to summarize:

Chaos theory states that dynamic systems are always unpredictable, even in deterministic systems or systems that supposedly retain “order.”

iii) The Omega Point and Technological Singularity

Two other concepts that I’m covering with this post are the Omega Point theory and the problem of technological singularity. Both deal with eventualities with regards to evolution, so it makes sense to group them both here.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point theory has deals with the complexity and consciousness of the universe. Chardin’s Law of Complexity/Consciousness proposes that all matter ascends to higher levels of intrinsic complexity over time and thus achieves a level of consciousness at the same time. The Omega Point is Chardin’s theoretical ceiling for this evolution; that is, the Point is a point where all matter in the universe achieves a level of complexity and consciousness so high that it cannot ascend any further. Chardin postulates five attributes for the Omega Point:

A) The Omega Point must already exist in an evolving universe.

B) The Omega Point must be personal and it must embrace individuality and bias.

C) The Omega Point must precede the universe; that is, it must be outside of the evolving universe.

D) The Omega Point must not be subject to the same laws of space and time governing the universe.

E) The Omega Point must be attainable and irreversible; that is, it is an eventuality.

Chardin goes into detail with explaining exactly why all of these attributes exist, and there are some online explanations (like this one) that do a great job of displaying his points.

Technological singularity, on the other hand, deals exclusively with artificial intelligence. It’s a concept that predicates many science fiction universes, such as Arthur C. Clarke’s Odyssey universe, Asiimov’s I, Robot collection, and even more contemporary universes such as (to an extent) Mass Effect. Singularity is the point in time where artificial intelligence outstrips human intelligence. One implication of the approach to technological singularity is the “intelligence explosion.” The intelligence explosion begins with the creation of an extremely intelligent machine that can sufficiently surpass every single human intellect. If the machine decides to create even more intelligent AI, which, in turn, create more intelligent AI and so forth, it leads to an explosion of intelligence.

So, to summarize:

The Omega Point is the theoretical point where the universe ascends to a degree of complexity and consciousness so high that it cannot evolve any further.

Technological Singularity is the theoretical point where artificial intelligence outstrips human intelligence.


2. What is The Mantle?

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At first glance, this kind of question might seem trivial. The Mantle is something the Forerunners can’t seem to shut up about. In short, popular belief is that the Mantle is a Forerunner religion that grants its beholder the task of guarding life. As the player companion Cortana states in Halo 4 upon reading a Forerunner glyph (the Eld, which is a prominent figure throughout the series]):

“Guardianship for all living things lies with those whose evolution is most complete. The Mantle of Responsibility shelters all.”

The Ur-Didact once again affirms the Forerunners’ belief of the Mantle’s granting of its beholder’s guardianship in Halo 4 with a taunt against our protagonist, Master Chief:

“The Mantle of Responsibility for the galaxy shelters all, human. But only the Forerunners are its masters.”

All of this points to the Mantle of Responsibility being a Forerunner belief which allows the Forerunners to be the guardians of their galaxy. However, there are a few flaws with this (some are obvious, and some are not so obvious).

1) Why is there ambiguity among the Forerunners about its legitimacy and actual definition?

Even amongst the Forerunners, there is debate about what the Mantle really is. Indeed, the Librarian herself mentions the Mantle, as the IsoDidact refers to it in the Halo 3 terminals, as a mere “fairy tale:”

“The Mantle. You still hold to that [fairy tale] after all that has happened? After this thing has consumed a million worlds?”

While the textual accuracy of Halo 3’s terminals is debatable, the fact that the Librarian has a personal definition of the Mantle is not. In the mission Reclaimer, The Librarian says that “… the Didact refused to yield our Mantle of Responsibility.” The use of the word “our” signifies a form of subjectivity and value judgement regarding the Mantle. Greg Bear, in Sparkast 17, also mentions that the Librarian has to “fulfill her version of the Mantle.” So ultimately, the Forerunners have personal definitions for the Mantle that vary from figure to figure and there is not one set interpretation of the doctrine.

2) The Mantle actually originates with the Precursors and the Precursors state that the Forerunners do not have the actual definition of the Mantle.

The ultimate reason that the commonplace definition for the Mantle is not accurate is that the Mantle is, in truth, a Precursor creation and not a Forerunner creation. Indeed, the final Precursor essentially states that the Forerunners do not yet understand the truth of the Mantle. In Primordium, the IsoDidact asks the Timeless One whether or not the Forerunners’ demise is to be their punishment. The Timeless One responds by saying that “It is the way of those who seek out the truth of the Mantle.” The fact that the Timeless One likens the Forerunners’ strife as an attempt to “seek out the truth” of the Mantle shows that the original, Precursor definition of the Mantle is obviously not the same as the definition the Forerunners, even ones with as much foresight into Living Time as the Librarian, accept (should they have any to begin with). In Primordium’s same sequence, Chakas reminisces that the Timeless One expects Ur Didact to have a special perception of the Mantle. “For the Didact the ultimate meaning of upholding the Mantle was to never accept defeat. I sensed that the Primordial had expected as much and as it decayed over the artificial fleeting of millions of centuries- as its extraordinary lifespan played out in blind silence- it had gloried in it.”

Perhaps most interesting is that even the Flood do not truly understand the Precursors. As Forthencho relays, “The Gravemind no more understands the whole truth than we do.”

The logical conclusion is that the Mantle is something only the Precursors truly understand. A little reductio ad absurdum can also give us another logical conclusion: the Mantle is not what the Forerunners believe it to be. Since the Forerunners derive all of their responsibilities from their beliefs in the Mantle, all of the responsibilities they place upon the beholders of the Mantle are not necessarily the responsibilities the Precursors place on the same people.

However, the problem is, the Precursors themselves never actually define what they mean by the Mantle. All the Mantle is, by the Precursors, is something that they want to have another species inherit. Going back to the interrogation with the Timeless One in Primordium, it’s very clear that the Precursors decide which species do and which species do not bear the Mantle. That is, the Precursors use their own value judgement to decide which species is worthy of bearing the Mantle.

“It was long ago decided. Forerunners will never bear the Mantle.”

“Decided how?”

“Through long study. The decision is final. Humans will replace you. Humans will be tested next.”

So if the Mantle is a Precursor term, and the Precursor definition for the term does not ever appear, there is seemingly no way to legitimately define the Mantle. However, there is one contemporary science fiction concept which does seem to be in keeping with the Mantle, and is essentially the same thing. Referencing 1. iii), the Chardin’s Omega Point theory is in keeping with every single philosophy the Precursors display in the series. To illustrate this similarity, the Precursors must validate every one of the five laws that Chardin’s Omega Point theory postulates.

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1. iii) A) The Omega Point must already exist in an evolving universe.

The Precursors’ Mantle must already exist, considering how the Precursors are using their value judgement to determine proper inheritors.

1. iii) B) The Omega Point must be personal and it must embrace individuality and bias.
The Precursors are willing to have new species ascend to the Mantle. They are willing to enrich the beholders of the Mantle with diversity and complexity.

1. iv) C) The Omega Point must precede the universe; that is, it must be outside of the evolving universe.

As per Silentium, according to the Librarian, Gravemind states that the Domain/Organon precedes the creation of the universe by approximately 86 billion years. “The Gravemind tells us something impossible to understand—that most of what has been gathered comes from before there were stars. We do not believe in such a time, but the Mind insists … The life-patterns and living wisdom of a hundred billion years.” Therefore, Precursors themselves precede the formation of the galaxy by a fair margin, and they must therefore be extrauniversal.

1. iv) D) The Omega Point must not be subject to the same laws of space and time governing the universe.

While there is nothing explicitly stating that the Mantle is not subject to the same laws of space and time governing the universe, the Mantle manipulates the entire universe, energy, and matter. According to Bornstellar in Halo Cryptum, “Precursors felt the Mantle extended to the entire universe, energy and matter as well as living creatures … some say. The universe lives, but not as we do.” In addition, simple inductive reasoning with the (correct) assumption that the extent to which Precursors employ neural physics is far beyond that of even the extensive perception of reality the Forerunners harbor depicts Precursors as on another level of reality.

1. v) E) The Omega Point must be attainable and irreversible.

The Mantle is obviously attainable as the Precursors are trying to allow humans to inherit it. The irreversibility part, however, goes without proof. There is nothing denying the irreversibility of upholding the Mantle, but there is nothing proving it either. In light of all of the similarities between the Mantle and the Omega Point and the fact that the Mantle does not overstep any of the five parameters Chardin specifies, the conclusion that both terms are synonymous seems like it isn’t out of the question.

Therefore, the Mantle may effectively be the Omega Point.


3. The Precursor Extermination

As section two concludes, the Mantle may effectively be the Omega Point. However, while the actual definition fits these parameters, the Precursors’ actions as stewards of the Omega Point do not. There is one very major breach of protocol which goes against the actions of someone (or something) with knowledge of and experience with the Omega Point.

If the Precursors realize that the Omega Point is actually the Mantle, and they are in a position to basically be God, why do they not retaliate against the Forerunners in the Forerunner-Precursor war? As the Gravemind states in Silentium, “The Precursors did not defend themselves. They marveled at the power of destruction, of reorganization.” If they truly believe they have the right idea, motive, and understanding as the Omega Point grants, why do the Precursors not defend their right to it? Indeed, the ordeal puzzles the Ur-Didact himself, as he says that “They understood nothing about their creations, really—else why open themselves to that sort of rebellion? Madness! It could only lead to madness.” Of course, as is apparent to anyone with a modicum of knowledge of the Precursors, the Precursor’s understanding of life far surpasses that of any Forerunner’s, let alone the Ur-Didact’s.

An important thing to note before elaborating is that the Forerunners defeat the Precursors without retaliation while the Precursors are still cultivating races for the Mantle. That is, the Precursors give themselves up to the Forerunners while they are still the stewards/beholders of the Mantle.

If there is a reason why, it must be due to the actual beliefs of the Precursors themselves as otherwise they would attempt to defend themselves from the Forerunners and try to guarantee their own survival as a species and, more importantly, as stewards/beholders of the Mantle/Omega Point. The fact that the Precursors do not defend themselves makes it seem very much like the Precursors want themselves to lose. Employing inductive reasoning:

Assumption A1: If one side of a war capable of winning forfeits, they want to lose.

Assumption A2: The Precursor species forfeits to the Forerunners’.

Conclusion C1(A1+A2): The Precursor species wants to lose to the Forerunners’.

Since the Precursor species wants extermination of themselves, they also want extermination of the stewards of the Mantle (as that is exactly what the Precursors are). Why they would want that is most intriguing, as it means that they either do not want themselves to be the bearers of the Mantle. The reason for this is almost certainly due to a negative outlook on the Mantle itself and a longing to escape their position. While there may be other factors, one very pressing one seems to be that the only way for the Precursors to “escape” being stewards of the Mantle is to kill themselves off entirely as due to the Omega Point’s irreversible nature, their continuing existence dooms them to the same fate.

To summarize the thought processes here:

The Precursors want to lose to the Forerunners because they would like to relinquish their position as stewards of the Mantle.

None of the prior assumptions are out of the question and make complete logical sense. The answer to why the Precursors would want to relinquish their position, however, may be more philosophical than it is tangible, and this is something this post tackles a bit later. If there are warning bells going off in your head right now, don’t worry: we’re about to tackle the biggest problem head on. After relinquishing their position from the Mantle by having the Forerunners destroy them, the Precursors accidentally create what is seemingly the antithesis to the third law of the Omega Point.


4. What is the Flood?

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The Flood is, bar none, the most sinister force in Halo history. Both a grotesque reference to the monster Who Goes There?/The Thing (best horror movie ever) and a reference to the Vang from Starhammer (as Grey101 so brilliantly details), the Flood is a tenacious and ferocious enemy. However, there is method to the Flood’s madness. Ultimately, the Flood is both an inevitability and a perfect solution to the Omega Point problem of Halo. As Frankie himself says in the commentary for Halo Legends’ Origins, “The Flood is sort of the heart of the Halo story and things always tend to come around to that.”

While it may seem like an obvious breach of protocol to meld all minds into one, the Flood actually subverts every single one of them in methods that make complete sense. In the end, the Flood is quite surprisingly entirely correct in their motives.

i) The Flood Does not Stagnate Evolution

The chief problem that many have with the Flood is the way that the Flood eliminates conflict by way of assimilation. Many see this as the stagnation of evolution as evolution quite clearly requires conflict by means of competition. The Flood eliminate conflict by harvesting minds and by operating off consensus in a compound mind.

However, what most do not understand about the Flood is that they are not acting as a species to get to being the solution. Indeed, at every turn they call themselves the solution. This is most apparent in Halo 3’s terminals, where the Gravemind repeatedly refers to the Flood as “the third great stage of evolution.” From Halo 3’s terminals, the Gravemind mentions “our [The Flood’s] appearance ushered in the beginning of the third great stage of evolution… In time, we too shall affect change on a universal scale.”

The Flood are the solution. They are not necessarily the means to get to the solution (though the very process of Flood conversion would, in this case, be the means to get to the solution). They recognize this, hence the existence of 100 000 year cycles of conflict. “Humans will rise again in arrogance and defiance. The Flood will return when they are ripe—and bring them unity.” The Flood recognize the importance of conflict and they embrace it. “All will be born in suffering, endless grayness shall be their lot.” However, the reason they exist is not to eliminate conflict, but to provide the logical endpoint to it: after the minds of a species evolve and grow and fester, they come back to harvest the species. “In a hundred and one thousand centuries . . . unity again, and wisdom. Until then—sweetness.” (The Gravemind delivers the same line in a much more sinister tone in Silentium: “That is what we bring: a great crushing weight to press down youth and hope.”). The Precursors’ solution is to use conflict to find an endpoint which would lead to even more conflict.

The main point being that the Flood does not get in the way of evolution, rather they stand at the end of it.

ii) The Flood Does not Destroy Diversity

Because of the sinister way the Flood operates, many mistake their method of unification to be assimilation. The Flood do not subvert individuality. Instead, their compound mind requires individuality to be of any use. The Gravemind himself says this when he juxtaposes his situation with Mendicant Bias’ in the Halo 3 terminals once again: “That is, unfortunately, not the {~} similar to us {~} but where you are a single intelligence inhabiting multiple [instances], we are a compound {~} consisting of (a thousand billion) coordinated minds inhabiting as many bodies as circumstance require.” Even without Gravemind’s quote, the entire motive of the Flood shows this: they require as many individuals of sufficient intelligence as possible to form a Gravemind or Keymind. Mendicant Bias summarizes this section exceedingly well, stating that “Your [the Gravemind’s] capacity for planning {~} creators too stubborn {~} the same goal through the preservation of genetic diversity {~} what you are {~} like a more direct path to the same outcome.” Indeed, that is exactly what the Flood is: a direct, computable ascension to the final frontier of evolution.

The bottom line being that the Flood do not eliminate diversity, individuality, or personality and instead use the three characteristics to form the basis for their compounds minds and higher level thought processes.

iii) The Flood are Logical Creatures and Their Actions are in Accordance with Their Words

One of the most frustratingly simple retaliations is that the Flood simply do not possess logic and are animalistic beings that simply manipulate people for their own prosperity. Not only is this retaliation an oxymoron as verbal manipulation requires a degree of logic (especially when considering that the beings that the Flood manipulate are often extremely intelligent and logical), but the fact of the matter is every single proof in 4. i) and 4. ii) is verifiable without Flood quotes. For i), the Flood simply does not subvert conflict in their actual actions [as per their 100 000 year cycle where they allow their subjects to grow]. For ii), the Flood does not eliminate diversity through the simple fact that their Graveminds do indeed require intelligences to develop (indeed, the Graveminds even derive some form of enjoyment from the intelligences that they absorb, as in Human Weakness where the Gravemind simply states that it speaks in iambic heptameter due to absorbing a lot of poets).

The conclusion being that the Flood operate on logic and even without trusting their words, their actions are in accordance with every conclusion in 4. i) and 4. ii).

iv) The Flood are not Reversible

As per the fifth of Chardin’s laws for the Omega Point, the beholders of the Omega Point cannot reverse from their original state. As the Timeless One states, there is “No immunity” to the Flood, a sentiment which the Lord of Admirals later affirms in Chakas’ head (“No immunity and no cure. There is only struggle or succumb. Either way the Primordial will have its due.”).

There is still some discrepancy within the Halo community on whether or not humanity does actually harbor a cure at any point during the Human-Flood war. Primordium in particular is the source of much doubt, as the book does seem to give several pieces foreshadowing the development of a cure. One of the biggest is the Timeless One’s 43 year trek on Installation 07 in the middle of the war. If humanity does not possess a cure, why does the Timeless One waste 43 years experimenting on them? In addition several Flood infections were physically seen to die after even attempting to manifest in human subjects, so what about those?

There are several problems with the theory of a still existing cure. First of all, in the actual conversation that the Primordial has with the IsoDidact, the narrative tells the reader that the Primordial can at least rudimentarily emote. When the Primordial responding to the question of why humans would undergo testing should a cure not exist, Chakas notes that the Primordial speaks “as if confiding a secret.” If the Primordial truly lies when discussing the cure, why would the narrative not display a shift in emotion there?

While this may seem like extremely weak evidence, some much stronger instances lie in Silentium. The Librarian and her Lifeworkers meet the idea of a cure with skepticism. After running a few tests, the Librarian concludes that even with the emergence of a Flood cure, the Flood can still overrun the galaxy within a few hundred years. The Flood’s decision to hold back suggests that there is something else going on with humanity and the Flood.

“The Flood seemed to be quelled-for a time. The Didact and I knew these piecemeal efforts should not have been enough. Lifeworkers calculated that given its virulence and adaptability, the Flood should have overcome our entire galaxy within a few hundred years.”

Considering all of this along with the way both Bungie and 343 vehemently backtrack on the idea of the Flood being reversible in any form [see the way Catalog debunks Sergeant Johnson’s Flood “immunity”: “No known biological [scaffolding] augmentation impedes efficacy of parasite conversion process”] it seems like the Flood immunity is something the series shies away from.

Regarding what exactly the Primordial does for 43 years, the true nature of the events is anyone’s guess. A thematic investigation may proffer some answers but that is currently beyond the scope of what this post attempts to accomplish. Something of interest may be the way that there are specifically around ten or so Graveminds on Installation 07 (“… the deactivated Graveminds- of which ten had already formed… ”) and Forthencho’s comment that the Primordial’s composition is of over a dozen different organisms([“Tagged to that word in the Lord of Admiral’s experience was a half-buried awareness that the Primordial itself had not been, precisely speaking, one creature, but three, four, five, six—a dozen! Forthencho had never learned the actual number.”). What really matters is that every piece of evidence pointing to the cure is dubious for whether or not it represents a cure or instead something part of the Primordial’s distinct motives.

Basically, the Primordial seems to have something else entirely going on with humanity. Coupling the evidence that the Flood has special plans for humanity, along with the fact that the evidence for the cure is dubious, and finally the fact that the Primordial himself outright denies the cure, there just is not much going for an actual cure.

The conclusion being succumbing to the Flood is not reversible.

The Flood are the model of the perfect endpoint for the ideal Mantle-bearing species. (The important note to remember here is that the Flood are not the actual Omega Point themselves and are instead the ideal type for the Mantle bearing species.) If the prior elaborations contain any credence, it’s due to the Flood actually being the proper solution.’

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We’ll end this elaboration off with a final series of quotes from the Halo 3 terminals which represent Mendicant Bias’ realizations and Gravemind’s elaborations:

““LF.Xx.3273.> Those who lead amongst your {~} exposed themselves {~} ill equipped to recognizethe landmarks that guide the universe along its inevitable course.”

“LF.Xx.3273.> {~} complexity {~} spread {~} our appearance ushered in the beginning of the third great stage of evolution. The first {~} condensation of particles was the result of the inevitable action of strong nuclear force and the creation of stars {~} inevitable action of gravity; so to the self-replicating chemical processes that dictate all disparate {~} In time, we too shall affect change on a universal scale.”

“MB.05-032.> Your capacity for planning {~} creators too stubborn {~} the same goal through thepreservation of genetic diversity {~} what you are {~} like a more direct path to the same outcome.”

“MB.05-032.> It is overwhelmingly clear that my creators have chosen to ignore destiny calling to them [from the threshold] {~} have come face-to-face with the inevitable action of self replicating chemical processes and have {~} deciding whether to embrace their fate or deny it completely.”

“MB.05-032.> I was created to study you as if you were some problem to be solved. And I have done so {~} [379,807 hours]. If they wished they could have made a decision based on that data alone.

But as you are the next stage in the evolution of the universe, who am I – or my creators – to obstruct your progress?”

“MB.05-032.> {~} choose to remain beholden to ancient myths {~} does not matter where they claimtheir authority originates {~} obstructs the path of universal evolution and must be removed. No matter how well intentioned, their obstinacy in the face of the inevitable progression of nature can no longer be tolerated.
My creators have been [an immovable object] for too long.”

“Your history is an appalling chronicle of overindulgence and self-appointed authority. You have spent millennia [navel-gazing] while the universe has continued to evolve. And now you claim the Mantle is justification for impeding nature’s inevitable refinement?

You are deluded. But through death you will transcend ignorance.””

— Halo 3 Terminals

The Flood are also more than just Halo’s solution to the Mantle problem; moreover, they are also the universe’s answer to the problem of technological singularity. Halo casually uses artificial intelligence much smarter than any human, Sangheili, or Forerunner. The time for technological singularity is long overdue, yet Halo does not undergo any form of artificial intelligence explosion. The reason behind it is the Flood. The Flood is the biological intelligence explosion. The Flood brings biological replication to the table with the Flood Super Cell.

In Halo, the Flood’s logic plague displays one crucial element of the series: biological organisms are always smarter than artificial intelligence. Despite the Flood being masters of manipulation, the terminals in Halo 3 are all in accordance with their actions [4. iii)]. Since artificial intelligences like Mendicant Bias exclusively revolve around finding the “correct” solution to a situation [as the IsoDidact states in the Halo 3 terminals], the fact that the Flood is able to convert Bias with their philosophy is a telling matter. The takeaway is that Bias/AIs’ original philosophies is wrong, and that the Flood’s are correct. The Flood’s philosophies, however, predicate themselves no making out the Flood to be the “be all end all” creature [literally], meaning that the Flood convince the AIs of their superiority to them. Mendicant Bias perfectly illustrates this in his final confiding to Gravemind:

“It is overwhelmingly clear that my creators have chosen to ignore destiny calling to them [from the threshold] {~} have come face-to-face with the inevitable action of self replicating chemical processes and have {~} deciding whether to embrace their fate or deny it completely.”

Archiver Chronarch puts it best: “What the Forerunners called the Logic Plague seems to really have been an AI being slapped in the face with the truth the Forerunners could not bear to admit to themselves.” Finally, Mendicant Bias himself states that his “weakness was capacity – unintentional though it was! – to choose the Flood.” He upfront states that his weakness in the Gravemind interrogation is his ability to listen to and accept the logic of the Flood. Not that the Gravemind’s logic tricks him into thinking something wrong, but instead his ability to believe whether or not Gravemind is right.

The conclusion is the biological intelligence explosion in Halo both puts organic life ahead of artificial intelligence, therefore subverting the problem of technological singularity, and the phenomenon also makes sure that the Flood are indeed the perfect organism and the endpoint of evolution which the Precursors may want them to be.

This section concludes that:

a) The Flood are the inevitable endpoint of evolution in the Halo series, and the logical solution to the Omega Point problem of Halo.

b) Biological organisms are superior to traditional artificial intelligence in the realm of Halo.


5. Societal Differences and Dealing with Conflict; the Realm of Chaos

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The previous sections discuss the four major factions in ancient Halo: Humans, Forerunners, Flood, and Precursors. Obviously, the Precursors are looking for a new ascender to the Mantle, and Sections 2, 3, and 4 discuss how the Flood is the solution to the Omega Point problem of Halo. However, the Flood is a very crude solution. It’s, quite frankly, abominable. There is no question that the Precursors are not only looking for a new ascender to the Mantle, but to find another solution to the problem that does not involve Flood conversion. Otherwise humanity would simply be Flood food by now.

But what may not be readily apparent is what makes humanity special in the eyes of the Precursors. The truth of the matter is, from a superficial point of view, the human species seems incredibly unfit to ascend to the Mantle. They are physically weaker than a sizable number of species they share the galaxy with, they possess barely any interest in trying to ascend to the Mantle nowadays, and they readily make the stupidest of decisions (see Kilo Five trilogy). Eliminating bias, the species just seems stupid.

This is actually exactly what Halo’s depiction of humanity would like its players to believe. Humanity’s society is one of constant bloodshed and conflict, be it with the Insurrection or the Covenant. Rather than try and eliminate it, the species propagates and enjoys it. As Frankie mentions in the commentary for Halo Legends’ Origins, Cortana recognizes “humanity’s continual need for conflict and war.” Humanity enjoys conflict and unrest.

Meanwhile, the exact opposite is true for what is the antithesis to humanity’s approach to conflict: Forerunner society. Every single thing about Forerunner society points to extreme amounts of control. In the Halo 3 terminals the Librarian laments to the Didact about the Forerunner’s approach to galactic society. “Belief in the Mantle sealed our doom! Weakened our [protectorates], bred dependence and sloth. Our [so-called Guardianship] has stripped those we would keep safe of any capacity for self-defense!” Greg Bear himself comes out on the Librarian’s views on conflict in Sparkast 17: “She understands, at a deep level, that life is conflict. It is things moving against each other to form different shapes and create young.”

In their belief of the Mantle, the Forerunners stagnate the galaxy’s evolution by removing as much conflict as possible. Indeed, it isn’t only the Forerunners’ outlook on other species that reflects their controlling nature, but their approach to their own affairs. In Silentium, the Ur Didact reminisces that Forerunner civil war ends “half a million years” prior to Ur Didact’s birth. It is this attempt to eliminate conflict which almost certainly leads to the downfall of the Forerunner empire.

But, as with the rest of the problems in the Halo universe, the Flood are actually those which provide the most concrete solution in a non-superficial manner. As Section 4 i) details, the Flood do not stagnate galactic evolution, unlike the Forerunners. However the reason why the Flood are superior are due to the way they approach intraspecific conflict as well. What both the Flood and humanity have in common is their acceptance of chaos. Both societies deal with the inherent disorder of systems.

Think about three different kind stacks. One of them has Xs, Ys, and Zs.

X
X
Y
Y
Z
Z

In this stack, there is a special order, with Xs upon Ys, and Ys upon Zs. The dividing lines keep the letters from falling out of order. This is a model for Forerunner society. The Forerunners try to maintain a particular order and make sure there are no conflicts. In something as variable rich and complex as society, however, chaos means that this particular order will have a disruption. If it does have a disruption, Forerunner society cannot accept it, and attempts to correct it. This is why something like the unpredictable nature of the Flood, philosophically, can break the Forerunner empire: when the Flood disrupts the order of the Empire in severe ways, the Forerunners cannot cope properly with it.
In the next stack, there are only Xs.

X
X
X
X
X
X

This stack, on the other hand, has no special order. There are only Xs upon Xs, and even were Xs to jump from position to position, the stack does not change. This is representative of Flood society. The Flood embrace chaos by allowing it to run its course. There is no intraspecific conflict. They are theoretically the perfect society.
In the final stack, there are Xs, Ys, and Zs.

X
X
Y
Y
Z
Z

While this stack may look much like the Forerunner stack, it is fundamentally different in that there is no special order. If the Xs and Ys switch position, it does not matter as while there is an initial order and there can be other orders as well, the stack does not break or change identity. This is representative of human society. Human society also embraces chaos due to its encouragement of conflict. This is why humanity is such an appealing society to a species such as the Precursors. They embrace conflict and chaos in a different way to the Flood. They are a promising alternative to the Flood.

Conclusion:

The Flood and Humanity both accept chaos and conflict while Forerunner society does not.


6. Silence Fills the Empty Grave

Transient

Switching tones now, the personal connection with which the player observes the Halo universe is also something worthy of attention. The Master Chief is arguably the most iconic element of the entire Halo series, and his presence in the lore is a complement to the greater conflicts going on in the lore. Master Chief’s character arc and newfound characterization is a parallel to the events of the final story.

The Master Chief’s presentation within the novels provides him with a consistent character. Eric Nylund’s books make Chief into some sort of a psychological intrigue. However, this is seemingly inconsistent with the lack of character definition in Master Chief’s presentation within the majority of the Bungie Halo games. Aside from a few moments where Chief shows his character and “humanity,” Bungie makes Chief a silent protagonist.

The silent protagonist has many advantages and is one of the greatest strengths of the FPS medium. It allows for people to assume the position of the main character with a full degree of immersion, and it can allow for the creation of whatever backstory the player feels is appropriate for the protagonist. Essentially, like much of Bungie’s work with the original Halo trilogy, the silent protagonist is something that plays to the player’s catharsis: it’s something that allows the player to experience the story and shape the reaction of their player character in whatever way they feel like.

However, the silent protagonist is in obvious conflict with Nylund’s character of the Chief. So one of the reasons that the Master Chief’s development in Halo 4 is so necessary is to bridge a gap between different sects of the Halo canon. While the divide between gameplay and canon is something any Halo player will readily define, the problem remains that there is almost no characterization for Master Chief in the actual games’ stories. As Armando Troisi says in Making Halo 4: Return of the Forerunners, a huge goal of 343’s is “to really take game systems and manipulate them and give them emotional coloring of context.”

To truly appreciate the development and contextualization Halo 4 provides for John’s character, it’s necessary to realize the psychology behind a silent protagonist. As a silent protagonist, what exactly are the player’s actions in the game? They are usually very simple objectives guiding the player to different parts of the story. The silent protagonist does not react in an emotional way- that is up to the person who is in the shoes of the protagonist- and instead simply does what the objectives say to do. Think about the average mission in the Halo series. Even in sandbox games like ODST, the protagonist needs follows the same pattern of having a definitive mission objective, working towards this objective, and advancing to the next area with gameplay running a bridge across every one of these elements.

Essentially, the silent protagonist has an objective and allows the player to tackle it instead of having a definitive character tackle it. Historically in the Halo trilogy, orders show up from higher officers, alien robots, and even parasitic monsters from time to time. But the most notable person to give orders to Chief is none other Cortana. Throughout the series she gives Chief immediate direction and objectives whenever she is there to say something.
So the natural way to bridge the gap between Master Chief’s two characterizations is to use Cortana’s portrayal in both to bring both characterizations together. The concept of Chief being a droning, unfeeling, sociopathic killing machine is something both Halo 4 and the Nylund and Dietz books go out to destroy. There are several moments of emotion and philosophising for Chief in the novels and pre-Cortana-death Halo 4, such as his decision of Johnson’s fate, or the way he normally converses with Lasky. He has clear preferences, and to any person who knows him well enough in the novels Master Chief is actually a decently normal Spartan when it comes to casual affairs.

However, the brilliance of Halo 4’s contextualization is that it subjugates this normality exclusively to casual affairs. While this is probably a gross oversimplification, there seem to be two different “modes” to Master Chief with the EU Chief, and Halo 4 details it brilliantly. One is the normal, casual, and even emotional mode that Nylund details in his novels. The other is the mission specific Master Chief. That is, the Master Chief in combat. This is the Chief that the games always portray. In response to the accusation that her Spartans were sociopathic, Halsey quickly mentions that the Spartans’ records seem to only show “efficient behavior operating in hazardous situations.”

If people look at him as he is in combat scenarios [which is synonymous with how he is in the games], they are obviously going to think that Chief is an emotionless and efficient killing machine. That is all that he strives to be in moment to moment combat while he is completing his mission objectives. That is all that his status as a silent protagonist even allows him to be within the original trilogy. As Christopher Schlerf details in A Hero Awakens, this is Master Chief’s “comfort zone,” and it’s also the player’s comfort zone. The player, as a silent protagonist, is always comfortable with “being the hero,” just like Master Chief is always comfortable with switching off his emotions in combat and completing his mission objectives.

Some seem to think that Halo 4 completely ignores John’s human element and turns his character into someone who is exclusively sociopathic. This could not be further from the truth. Even in Halo 4, prior to his big character developing break at the end, Master Chief puts his human side on display in the mission Composer. This is one of the very few moments in the games where the story forces Master Chief to bring out his emotional core, specifically in the moment where he consoles Dr. Tillson about the destruction of her work.

No, the real point of Halo 4 is, as Armando Troisi states in A Hero Awakens, to have Master Chief’s soldier side “start to discover his humanity.” By the end of the game, Master Chief actually finishes all of his objectives in typical Halo fashion. Think about it: Master Chief actually does win. He stops the Didact and he ends up clearing Cortana of rampancy (she is healthy in her last moments). Logically, he does win. However, he is put into a situation where his soldier side must acknowledge his human side. That is, when he reacts with an impulsive, illogical, “Wait!” in the finale, he brings his emotional side over to his killing machine side. I think it’s hilariously intriguing that the Master Chief is technically in the “killing” mode whenever a real human actually plays as him.And after the two sides meet, Halo 4 serves its purpose: to throw Master Chief into a search for his purpose. Both his typical commanders are gone now: Cortana is dead, and he’s doubting his superiors as well. As Bonnie Ross says in E3, Master Chief “was questioning everything: his role, his purpose, and who and what he was fighting for.” (As an aside, I think it’s hilariously intriguing that the Master Chief is technically in the “killing” mode whenever a real human actually plays as him.)

Therefore, the bridging of Master Chief’s background as a silent protagonist and his character within the games leads to Chief undergoing an existential crisis.


7. Conflicting Philosophies

Transient

(This analysis is about to get a bit dense, so I apologize in advance for the tonal shift.)

It might not be evident at first glance, but all of the sections leading up to this one define the core philosophies of Halo.
Nihilism, absurdism, and existentialism all govern different aspects of the Halo lore.

Nihilism:

In the third section, we face the problem of why the Precursors would want to give up their own position as the original inheritors of the Mantle. Obviously they have to have some kind of discontent with being at the position that they are, otherwise they would not attempt to relinquish their spots. But it is not because the prospect of being the inheritor of the Mantle is necessarily bad per se, but instead because their dissatisfaction stems from the fact that they cannot handle it. Otherwise they would not be looking for other species to inherit the Mantle.

Let’s break this down into two statements to make it a little easier to digest.

A) Precursors constantly search for another inheritor to the Mantle.

B) Precursors do not want to be the inheritors of the Mantle themselves.

Considering the Precursors truly stand at the height of life’s complexity in the time they have the Mantle, they basically possess a view and outlook of the universe and reality which should dwarf every “normal” species’ own outlook. But their discontent is most telling: they dislike the understanding that they have. This is where nihilism comes in. Every other understanding of the universe can provide hope in the prospect that meaning either exists [be it knowable or unknowable], or is something one can construct. Nihilism discredits all form of meaning or purpose. It is easy to make the connection that Precursors, with their status of ascension, would dislike realizing that the only way they can see the world is with nihilism.

Therefore, the Precursors’ actions are consistent with nihilism. Essentially, Precursors’ understanding of the universe makes them nihilists, and they don’t like it, so they want somebody else to take a crack at it.

Absurdism:

In the fifth section, we face the problem of societies in Halo. The different ways of handling chaos should make the absurdism clear: the entire point of human and Flood society is to accept the absurdity of the universe by accepting the prevalence and inevitability of conflict. Basically, the most stable societies in Halo are the ones which embrace the absurd.

Existentialism:

Finally, as the previous section displays, existentialism describes Master Chief’s predicament regarding his combative and emotional sides. The Master Chief is on a search for his own personal meaning through the galaxy after Cortana’s death changes his perception of purpose as a whole.

All of these philosophies are on display in the Halo universe and set up in the Halo lore. However it is abundantly clear that the true warring philosophies here are the one with the player protagonist and the one that manages to kill a species of gods. The entire core of Halo is about attempting to create existentialism in a nihilistic universe. While I could go on and on about how much I like this kind of story, I think it makes more sense to first answer the immediate question:

Can it be done? Essentially, what I’m going to at least try and answer is whether or not existentialism can subvert nihilism. I am bound to piss off just about every single person who reads this, so strap yourselves in and keep an open mind.

Let me start off by arguing against some popular tenets of existentialism.* Specifically, a little statement made by the philosopher Rene Descartes. The phrase “I think, therefore I am” is one of my least favorite conclusions ever. People seem to believe that it shows that this is proof that there is one solid truth, but it really doesn’t hold much weight with me. First of all, the entire syllogism is redundant due to the first “I” in the sentence. The phrase automatically presupposes the existence of an “I” that is doing the thinking, so once again concluding that an “I” exists is redundant. Furthermore, even the concept of thinking is just another action by our bodies. Thought is no more “special” than circulating blood and is basically just another biological process. Think about the way you think: it’s surprisingly easy to understand. You have information from your body’s senses, then you compare it with other pieces of information and finally end up with one single “thought.” Going back to the circulatory analogy, saying “I think, therefore someone must exist to do the thinking” is basically equivalent to saying “I circulate blood, therefore someone must exist to do the blood circulating-“ which is ridiculous. In both scenarios, the process the statement uses to affirm existence is just as much a product of human imperfection as any other. Basically, don’t take your ability to think itself so seriously: it’s every bit the product of a biological mind as any other process in your body.

So imagine how the Precursors might feel if they realize that thought isn’t pure. They predicate their entire society and perception of reality around the power of thought. Neural physics and Precursor architecture are all the concept of “I think, therefore I am” on ridiculously high levels. Of course they would want to remove themselves from the Mantle! Their claim to fame isn’t worthy of any fame at all.

Instead we must look to another place to see whether or not we can ever confirm that existence is a prerequisite for essence. It actually might involve thought, but it won’t say that merely thinking is proof that we exist. Let’s again think about how we think for a second. When you recollect something, you’re obviously falling prey to the sequence of time. You think about the gist of what happens. It’s impossible to think of “just a moment” as that is something infinitesimally small. Can you try to tell me how long a moment is? A second? An attosecond? Then can you tell me that you remember anything from it?

No, the very concept of remembering anything does necessitate a logical jump. We see a collection of infinitesimally small moments and then we bridge them together. But the very concept of bridging them together is another logical jump. When we say “something” happens we are doing two things. The first is defining a start and end point to collect moments of information from. The second is using our perspectives on reality to discern what happens in that section of time. Without even realizing it, we dilute reality to what we are observing and then we see what happens to that portion of reality to actually recollect a “moment.” I put “moment” in quotes as it isn’t really the terminology we should be using [assuming we define moments as instants in time]. Instead, what we really recollect are events, and it’s easy to see how events themselves are subjective meanings on stretches of time.

Note that this does not deny causality whatsoever, but merely provides a deterministic outlook on its place in reality. Causality obviously exists between points in time, as the sequential organization of “moments” should make apparent. One “moment” is a consequence of the conditions in the last. However, the way I’m using the word means that it’s not really useful to say that causality links two events together. Causality links moments together, but saying that it links events together is wrong. Think about what happens when somebody pushes a box. You might simply say that “the guy pushes the box, therefore the box moves to a new position” to describe the causality of the system, but that’s far too general. What about the very act of the person touching the box for a period of time? There is causality linking the first second of touching to the second. The specificity can extend ad infinitum as “moments” are infinitesimally small. Basically saying that causality links anything above two moments together requires a ton of generalization.

I say all of this because it brings me to what I truly believe is the most important thing about our existence: storytelling. Every single time we think, due to our sequential minds, we tell ourselves a story. Whether or not it’s a hypothetical or a reminiscence, we always provide “subtext” and “purpose” to sections of time. If you undergo the very act of believing that somebody actually has a life from start to finish within this reality, you automatically end up providing your own meaning to existence. And if you see life as a story, then the concept of subtext and subjective depth shows us how we can end up with valid, if personal, meanings. Therefore, this shows that even though the act of thinking isn’t the ultimate proof of existentialism’s number one tenet, the inherent storytelling present in how we think can elevate us above existential nihilism. Even though we may not be able to prove that the original human absolute exists, we can still say that existentialism is a valid outlook on the world.

So my answer to the question is: maybe. Humanity won’t be able to prove the absolute of existence preceding essence, but I believe they’ll be able to make use of the notion. Through the power of storytelling, Halo can possibly subvert existential nihilism. But humanity must embrace that fact, which it seems both the Flood and Precursors did. The Gravemind often brags about his accumulation of memories. And, of course, the entire concept of the Domain, the Precursors’ greatest treasure, is all about storytelling. Indeed, the Gravemind happily sends a message to the Librarian which notifies her of his position on the Domain’s destruction in Silentium: with the destruction of Forerunner stories comes the resolute destruction of the Forerunner Empire, regardless of whether or not the Forerunners themselves can survive.

The Precursors’ motives [assuming this post is correct about them] are actually pretty noble. They don’t want other species to inherit the Mantle until they know whether they can bear the same realization that they go through, and they also don’t want other species to inherit the Mantle until they think that they can provide another outlook on the universe distinct to the Precursors. This is the reason they create the Flood: to provide a kind of temporary “quasi Mantle” to organic life and be basically the next best thing. Ironically if the kind of societal evaluation which the Precursors admire is anywhere in the Forerunners, it’s in the Ur Didact and his Warrior-Servants. Warrior-Servants are all about embracing the absurdity and perpetual conflict of life. The quote which this post derives its title from, the Fifth Permutation of the “Mantle,” is clear proof of this. “The peaceful one is at war without and within.”

Ultimately, the problem Halo presents its humans might be insurmountable. I don’t know how humanity will end up tackling all of this, if I’m right and this is actually representative of the conflicts in the Halo universe. It stacks the philosophical odds against us. If there is a threat greater than that, I’ve yet to see it. One thing’s for sure: I certainly don’t foresee Halo ending up with a “happy” ending. It seems that the universe might actually be gearing up to face the World Half Full trope once more, only now it’s a massive exacerbation of it. Right now, through my view of the Halo universe, I see the most absolute kind of despair, and I see the most absolute kind of hope possibly rising to combat it. I don’t know where Halo will go, but wherever it does, I think it’ll be quite a sight to see.


Epilogue

First off, I guarantee this analysis has made me a few enemies. There are going to be people who despise the notion of having nihilism take such an overbearing role in a seemingly hopeful universe such as Halo. And of course there are obviously going to be those people who simply hate this analysis because it’s about post Bungie Halo lore. If you’re willing to go react impulsively and emotionally, do it. It’ll only validate my thoughts on what people will make of a story that might end up manipulating everybody’s emotions.

Second, I have to credit a bunch of people for how awesome they are. I need to thank A3LGoat (T_T we miss you), Zomechin, Quantum, and RyanW for the Halo Haven/Halo Forum on B.Net, as they inspired me to actually start writing big things about Halo in general.

I’ve also gotta thank the Halo Archive for being the greatest damn Halo community on the entire internet right now.

Several people from the Archive probably beat me to the punch with stuff from this analysis. I know Faber first brought up the way the Omega Point was reminiscent of elements of the series. A lot of stuff that I wanted to put into this analysis was actually detailed in other explanations by other community members. Because really, this analysis only just scratches the surface of the true depth that is the Halo canon. There are several concepts here which I could ramble on about for so long this post would easily reach a length of around five times longer than it is right now. I was going to include something about Asimov’s Law of Robotics and how it relates to the portrayal of AI in Halo. I could also talk for days about my theories about the biological intelligence explosion. More importantly though, I think there are better people than myself to explore what I haven’t talked about.

For example, I could have talked about the epistemological studies of John Locke relate to the themes I presented in here. The names of the characters of John 117 and Agent Locke melded together even namedrop him, and they’re pretty relevant to the final section (not this one, silly). But Sandtrap, from the Bungie.Net community, has already detailed that in a brilliant post of his. I could also have brought up mythological and religious references constructing several parts of the lore as well, but Chronarch has already detailed that in his excellent level by level analysis of Halo 4. Or how about Onyx/Lord of Admiral’s analysis of the Didact and the way he fits in the franchise? Basically, this analysis is only the beginning.

And then there are the people who’ve posed alternate viewpoints to things that I’ve written. If you thought my words make any semblance of sense, I urge you to check out the opposing viewpoint as well. For example, resident forum owner/ultimate bada$$ Grey101 has a great post up on the Archive about how the Flood cure might actually exist. Go check that out and make your own decision about whether or not you think my post remains valid.

Remember that this post is a bunch of theories based on philosophical and thematic connections which I think exist in the Halo universe. That is, it’s a view of the Halo Universe’s subtext. It is NOT fact. Halo 5 might swoop in and render every single one of these observations and predictions invalid and I personally wouldn’t be the least bit disappointed (By the action of invalidation, I mean. I would still definitely be disappointed if the alternative direction was relatively tame in terms of depth) as it’d merely open up new things for me to analyze. And if you believe I’m wrong in any place of this analysis, call me out on it so I can correct it and/or revaluate my position on the particular subject. I’m eager to learn, and remember: I’m only human/355 foot mutant dinosaur-amphibian.

Finally, I’d like to thank Silent/MyChemicalBromance for being the intellectual powerhouse that he is. It was his defense of the Mass Effect series, specifically from his thread detailing the Universality of the Creator-Created Conflict that caused me to actually get off of my a$$ and make this post.* EDIT: As it turns out, it was actually him that burnt his attack of Descartes into my brain as well, in his thread ‘Bioware Attempted to Tell the Story that Cannot be Told.* Of course, I managed to find a way to procrastinate on writing it for quite some time (sorry Grey).

So ends my post. To end off, I’d like to leave some links for you people to read and make your own conclusions off of. Some are not really attached to any conclusions of my post, and might even contradict it in some way, but regardless they should be interesting to follow up on. Perhaps you might even reach your own conclusions about the subtext of the Halo canon by looking at these.

www.kurzweilai.net/the-technology-of-universal-intelligence

www.biointelligence-explosion.com/

www.aleph.se/Trans/Global/Omega/dyson.txt

www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/65333877/0/0

forum.bioware.com/topic/468620-on-the-universality-of-the-creator-created-conflict/

www.haloarchive.com/thelibrary/2014/6/10/w88czzqr5j4nita33fsys9q3azdfuo

haruspis.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/halo-4-level-by-level-analysis-prologue/[/a]

http://forum.bioware.com/topic/348382-bioware-attempted-to-tell-the-story-that-cannot-be-told/

PS: “I would also like to thank Splendid Dust for being himself.

SPLENDID DUST”

Gojira

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